Mike Everett of Mardles
reviews Sliptease by Vicki Swan & Jonny DyerThe best thing to come out of Essex is undoubtedly the A12, but Vicki and Jonny run it a close second. And their music just gets better and better, unlike the A12.
Vicki is one of the most accomplished musicians to be heard today, whether on Scottish smallpipes, flute or whistle, and is a delight to listen to. Together with Jonny on guitar or accordion, they produce great folk music. This album sees them move from a predominantly tune-based repertoire to a greater focus on traditional song. An interesting comment in the sleeve notes tells us how the folk process can be hastened by a few pints of Adnams Broadside as tunes change after an evening in the pub.
The songs on the album are all well known but enjoyable for all that. This is the second album this year on which Ive come across a version of Lavender Blue with far more verses than I remember from my childhood. (I want this sung or played at my funeral.)
The tunes are all written by Jonny or Vicki with the most interesting ones being Vickis tunes in The Podcast Set, which she used to teach people to play the smallpipes online for a research topic during her work for a Masters degree.
If you want to catch them, theyre running a session at The Willows in Cressing, Essex on the Sunday nearest the middle of the month. More details on their website at www.smallpiper.co.uk, where you can also buy the CD and earlier recordings by Vicki and Jonny and with Nick Hennessey in Serious Kitchen as well as Vickis smallpipes tutor book and their tune book.